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Originally Posted by MomOfBeginners


If I could only afford 30-minute lessons for my child, and I didn't want my child getting bored with spending 4 weeks on a piece, I'd ask that the teacher just work on easier music that is possible to master in 1-2 weeks. It would take longer to get through the levels, but if that's where I've set my priorities, then I wouldn't mind.


That's a great idea actually. The parents implied more progress with new songs and more difficult songs. My guess is they won't be happy with going back to easier repertoire, but it's definitely worth a try.

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This is the type of parent that it is absolutely impossible to please, because they are ornery by nature and the standards they set for you are contradictory. So you have two choices; either teach the student or worry about the parent. Why take on the stress of trying to deal with the parent? Teach the student to the best of your ability in the time you are given. If they're not happy with it, they'll leave. If they leave, great. If they don't, that's fine too.


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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
This is the type of parent that it is absolutely impossible to please, because they are ornery by nature and the standards they set for you are contradictory. So you have two choices; either teach the student or worry about the parent. Why take on the stress of trying to deal with the parent? Teach the student to the best of your ability in the time you are given. If they're not happy with it, they'll leave. If they leave, great. If they don't, that's fine too.


Yeah I totally agree there's not much I could do, but glad you laid out the options right there, and although I always try to influence the parents, sometimes it's difficult to talk to parents who don't do music themselves. I've always had better relationships with "musical" parents and wish I could've done better with the ones who have little music connections.

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I think it is important to set clear and realistic expectations not just with the parents but with the student as well.

If progress is going to be slower at 30-mins a week, then so be it. There's nothing wrong with going slower, right? Be clear about it. It's up to the parents (and student) then to accept it, try to mitigate it (maybe by doing extra work at home), or to reject it and go elsewhere.

If you're always clear and up-front with the parents & students -- and it sound like you are -- then there's little to worry about.

What you don't want to do is to create the illusion that 30-mins will be peachy fine, then when things aren't progressing as the parents expected, you still get the blame at the end.


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Thank you all for your inputs, I really appreciate it and definitely need a night to sleep on this problem and see what the best option is! Whatever it is, I hope it serves best to the student's interest.

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pianoheart, I have read your post, here:

Thank you all for your inputs, I really appreciate it and definitely need a night to sleep on this problem and see what the best option is! Whatever it is, I hope it serves best to the student's interest.

________________________________________________

I guess what hasn't been mentioned is that people forget that parents and kids have to be very careful what they do and say to each other because they are family and as parents and kids - they can - and do - disown each other - which can affect inheritance / parentcare when they get old - and so the memories of histories of each is very much related to how they were treated and or not treated - and the memories of that history.


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Originally Posted by pianoheart
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Honestly, assigning 2 pieces out of each performance and lesson book is not a lot of work. If the student is not doing well, then consider quantity over quality. Sounds like this student isn't a great one to begin with.

2 new pieces each week? that's sounds like a lot to me, How did you do that? Your students must have worked diligently at home!

For kids who are still in method books (lower than book 3B), 2 new pieces per book per week is about the norm. In the Primer book, the students do even more than 2 pieces per week. A lot more.

You might want to look for quantity over quality at this stage. When the pieces are "good enough," pass them and move on to the next concept. Sequence-wise, most method books are in this giant spiral nowadays, so a concept that was not learned will sooner or later return in another form, and students can take another hack at it.

I'm a perfectionist by nature, but even I've learned to say "That's good enough for now!"


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Originally Posted by pianoheart
I received a transfer student this semester. Her parents requested 30-min lesson and demanded that I "progress fast" with new songs each week. They quit their last teacher because one of the songs was reviewed for four weeks, which made them think there's no progress.

After a few lessons, I noticed she's very poor on note reading, and decided to talk to her parents about extending her session time to give us enough time for theory and sightreading

They rejected the idea because of the cost and says they already dropped a sport class for the child to have piano class.

As much as I love this student, there's no way for me to push her with "new songs" each week and at the same time having no time for theory. And I totally see her previous teacher doing the right thing: focus on the song she has at the moment and reinforce note-reading before moving on to new material.

The parents seem to have unrealistic expectations from me: fast progress with only 30-min lessons. Should I ask them to seek another teacher?
I have not read through the responses yet, so please forgive me if this was said already.

Educate the parents! Do they know what good progress is at piano? Ask them how long it takes to learn a piece, what is reasonable for this level of playing, and what steps should be taken to learn a piece as efficiently as possible. More than likely, you will get a look of shock as they struggle to come up with a good answer.

Then you tell them what you think in your expertise. Then outline how you wish to address that with their daughter specifically. If they cannot afford 45 minute lessons, can they afford an extra 30 minute lesson once a month? If so, you can do a 45 minute lesson every other week (or a 30 minute lesson, but I think the 45 EOW is better). Not the best for scheduling, but nothing wrong with giving yourself a 15 minute break once in a while.

If they can't afford this, then tell them you will do the best that you can, but again, outline specifically how you will accomplish this and what is expected of her and them to make the most out of their hard-earned money.


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Originally Posted by Gary D.
It is also about pace. I don't talk in lessons except directly in response to musical things, and I do not lecture. I am about action, and I think I can get as much done in 30 minutes as many teachers do in an hour.

I was reflecting on your comment, Gary, and it occurs to me that first, you're a very experienced teacher who can get a lot accomplished in a short period of time. You have to teach a while to learn how to do this. Secondly, your comment gives a clue about what you cover and don't cover, in lessons. My business card states that I teach "piano and music." When people ask what that means, I explain that I teach more than just the mechanics of playing the instrument; students get a healthy dose of music history, world history, music vernacular, as well as basic music theory. This takes a bit of time out of each lesson, and probably consumes ten minutes or more. Parents that don't want that additional depth in their children's lessons should probably opt for another teacher. After all, we have a wide variety of skills and offings here and in most larger communities.


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I'm not sure if this has already been suggested but what about offering a 1 hour lesson every other week? Parents pay the same and more repertoire is covered.

I couldn't tell what level the OP's student was.... still in method books? I wouldn't suggest this for a beginning student but I taught a couple of CM lev 4 students this way for a couple of years and it worked fine. Their progress was a only a tad slower but these students were motivated and I assigned more rep that they worked on their own.


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My elementary students typically have 3-4 new pieces, 2-3 review pieces, technique, theory and sight reading on every assignment.


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